News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday May 13, 2014.
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The Moto X was the rebellious phone that sought to shake the old ways of thinking about Motorola and smartphones in general. The Moto G was the global device meant to bring the same ideas at a cheaper pricepoint. In that lineage, the Moto E might be seen as the emerging phone. It's even cheaper than the others and available at a bottom-barrel price tag. What matters most is that despite that tag, it's better than one might expect.
The Moto E doesn't have very impressive specifications if you're coming from the realm of Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone products, but the featurephone buyers that this device targets are in for a world of difference. I've been toying with the device for the past three hours and have been pleasantly surprised to see that it's more powerful than it looks. The dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor can run Riptide GP 2 and Runbot, though the single-core Adreno GPU makes the latter look very pixelated. The former is obviously not as impressive as it is on other devices, but it's clear and smooth enough to get me through a few races. The snappiest that other recent Motorola phones have had are not present here, but again, you have to compare it to what else is at this price point. Early impressions are more favorable when you consider that this is a lot better than what someone would for a $129 phone elsewhere.
The exterior of the device is where someone will probably be a let down. While even the Moto G had a plastic texture, it felt a little smoother and better to touch than the rigid feel of the Moto E. It's also a little thicker than I would have expected but still compact because it is neither tall nor wide. It does attract smudges fairly easily as the white model has already managed to get dirty in the short time it took me to get from New York City to New Jersey. The black model is preferable because aside from looking more pristine, there's less of a stark contrast with the sensors and speakers. On the plus side, you can remove the back plate and replace it with colors of your choice. The 1,980 mAh battery is not removable, but taking off the back cover grants access to a SIM card and 32GB microSD slot.
For a phone that's not trying to be more than it's supposed to, the Moto E seems like it could be a good transitional device for people looking to do more with their phone without having to pay so much more. There are some obvious sacrifices to be made, but this looks to be the ideal starter-phone. I'll have to spend more time without it before I can say that for sure.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.